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New at AUSA -- a full line-up of proposed Sikorsky rotorcraft based on Sikorsky's X2 high-speed coaxial concept. First, the S-97 demonstrator, which the company still plans to fly in 2014 and that corresponds to the Army's advanced scout requirement. Next, a UH-60 Blackhawk-sized aircraft, corresponding to the utility end of the Army's very long-term Joint Multirole Rotorcraft requirement:And sharing the same rotors, transmission and power, an attack helicopter. Very impressive, although I wonder how many old-school big-wing AIM-9s will be around when this critter enters service. Finally, a UAV -- with the X2 rotor system, but lacking the trademark pusher propeller, indicating an emphasis on lift and loiter rather than speed. So far, there are three teams set up for the JMR program -- Sikorsky, a Boeing-only team and a Bell-Boeing tilt-rotor team. An engineer from the last-named says that the design will be very different in detail from the V-22. The snag with JMR is that full-scale development is not due to start until well into the 2020s -- which makes sense in view of the fact that the Army is still taking delivery of new, or good-as-new, AH-64 Block IIIs, UH/MH-60Ms and CH-47Fs. However, the US helicopter industry needs some R&D work, or the teams to develop a replacement will simply not be there in a dozen years' time.Also on show here is Bell's concept of an OH-58 Block II, a further evolution of the OH-58. The Army is already developing the OH-58F, with new sensors and avionics -- including the CSP sensor/designator package from the Gray Eagle UAV, located under the nose and replacing the Kiowa Warrior's mast-mounted sight. Seven EMD aircraft are being built, with the first to fly in late 2012. An artist's concept of the OH-58F appeared in a paper presented to Defense IQ's Close Air Support conference in London last month. The Block II builds on that with major changes to reach the Army's goal of operations at 6,000 feet and 95F. A new engine -- either a Rolls-Royce offering or a Honeywell HTS900 -- delivers over 1,000 shp through a new transmission to new rotor blades.
ar99, ausa, X2
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